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Max Payne

Let's chat about Annealing brass - Pro or Con?

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I shoot 38 Special. Ophelia shoots 32 H & R in her pistols & 38 SP in her rifle.

 

I looked into the receiver/carrier of a buddy's rifle & was surprised how clean it was after just finishing a match. All 3 of my rifles dirty up my brass pretty well, even though I run a pretty tight crimp. I did some research & identified a machine I'd buy if I decide to do it. Bench Source Gas Annealer for about $540 shipped.

 

Question: Do you anneal the brass just once & then never again? Or, do you do it before each reload?

Does it weaken the brass enough to be a problem in shortening the life of the case? Such as splitting?

Can you feel the difference running thru the rifle?

What are the pros & cons I don't know to ask about?

 

Not sure if I want to add a step in reloading, as I'm probably reloading a LOT of bullets. But, if there are good reasons to do so, I will.

 

Feedback appreciated.

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it will extend the life of your brass and prevent cases splitting. I do my precision rifle cases every 3rd firing. I do not do my cowboy loads (yet) just too many of them. for now I just shoot em and keep reloading them until they split or I see signs of fatigue.

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Whoa on the machine.

 

I bought the cheapest cordless drill from harbor freight.  Repurposed one of my 3/8th drive adapters & a deep well socket to hold the 38 spl case.  I set up the plumbers propane torch on my gun vise to hold  the flame in one spot.  Hold the case  mouth in the flame for long enough for it to just start glowing in the dark (8 to 10 count).  Dump in water or pan up to you.  Don’t need to quench brass.  I use a Velcro cable tie I stole from IT at work to hold the drill trigger in one spot for a constant speed.  It takes a while to do them.

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Save the $$$$, and just buy new brass.

Annealing handgun brass(non bottleneck)is a pita.

I'm still loading the same .38 Special brass I have used for the last 30+ years.

Same for my .44.

OLG 

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there are way too many for me to spend the time on it - shoot and reload till they are trash then recycle and buy new , 

 

my 4570 is another story but i only shoot a few of those in comparison , 

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I always reply to questions like this the same way.

 

What is the problem with sooty brass?

 

Does it not shoot as well as shiny brass?

 

Just polish it between loadings.

 

Try shooting Black Powder sometime if you want to see sooty brass.

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Max,If your rifle is getting a lot of blowback into the action then annealing may help your problem.I shoot .45 Colt and it is certainly worth the time invested.

I dont shoot  38s so I can't give an opinion there.

I've gotten several loadings between annealing.

YMMV

Choctaw Jack 

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A suggestio you might try.

 

First a question or two.

You shoot 38s.

Is your rifle and pistols the same caliber?

 

If so, you might want to find the tightest chamber in your revolvers.

This is do by dropping spent brass in to each cylinder camber.

There will be one chamber tighter than the rest.

This is the chamber your will want to reload for.

To help with the blow back soot, your resize your brass to fit that tight chamber.

 

Start by backing your sizing die ouot 1 turn.

Then use cleaned fired brass, resize 4 or 5 cases.

Test fit them in to the tight chamber.

If they just drop in, back the sizing die out a little more until the ccases need a little effort to get all the way in to the tight chamber.

 

From here you will screw the sizing die back down in 1/8 turn incriments until the case drops all the way in to the chamber with little to no effort.

Try a few cases at this size.

 

If they continue to drop in, then load a few cases with just a bullet. NO powder or primer.

If the cases now drop in by their own weight then your may still need to back the sizing die out.

 

You are looking for the tightest fit where the case with bullet will drop in on it's own weight.

 

You now have the cases size to the maximum they can be and work in all chambers of your revolvers.

This will provide the best seal in the chambers for all chambers.

 

The rifle is not a issue because the bolt will seat the case.

 

You may even find that one or two chambers are excessively tight compared to the other chambers.

This would require recutting the chambers to make them all the same.

 

In most cases this is not needed, the factory cut is good.

 

This also helps if you decide to shoot black powder.

 

I reloaded for cas shooters for 18 years.

 ( I averaged 400,000+ rounds a year on Dillon 650s with Lee dies)

38s where by far the most popular.

I never annealed a single case.

I did adjust sizing dies to fit customers guns.

Kept a note book so I knew where to set the dies.

-------------

another question.

When you load your rounds, can you see a waist on the case?

Is the case smaller in diameter below the bullet and then gets bigger on the bullet?

 

This is an indication the case was sized down to far for your chambers.

Raise th sizing die until you get a straight case and no waist that holds the bullet tight when crimped.

 

 

 

 

 

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Answer to question 1. I don’t know there’s is a number.  When the carrier is getting dirty I guess it’s time to re anneal. 2. It softens the brass , it regains hardness through working the brass ( sizing, crimping, shooting etc.). 3. I’ve only annealed for a half season.  I haven’t come across case splitting.  But case gauge everything! The soft brass will bulge easier and may stick in the chamber enough to ruin a stage.  4. There is a slight drag from the loss of tolerance from the case to the chamber.  I don’t really notice in the .38 spl brass as much as I did in my .45 Colt.  But I was shooting smokeless in the 45 Colt.  I don’t have a report on annealed 45 Colt with APP.  From what I’ve read here on the wire, it’s  great stuff.  

 

Con: the annealing is another stage in the reloading process.

 

Pro: keeps the carrier and bolt clean therefore no need to tear down after 1st day to keep it running good for the 2nd day.  Allows you to have necked case cleanliness without having to set up for 38/40 or 44/40 and still run 38spl.

 

Start small with 25, 50 or a 100 rounds and see how you like it.

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Load some of your loads in some new brass , the brass may not even be your problem 

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6 hours ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

A suggestio you might try.

 

First a question or two.

You shoot 38s.

Is your rifle and pistols the same caliber?

 

If so, you might want to find the tightest chamber in your revolvers.

This is do by dropping spent brass in to each cylinder camber.

There will be one chamber tighter than the rest.

This is the chamber your will want to reload for.

To help with the blow back soot, your resize your brass to fit that tight chamber.

 

Start by backing your sizing die ouot 1 turn.

Then use cleaned fired brass, resize 4 or 5 cases.

Test fit them in to the tight chamber.

If they just drop in, back the sizing die out a little more until the ccases need a little effort to get all the way in to the tight chamber.

 

From here you will screw the sizing die back down in 1/8 turn incriments until the case drops all the way in to the chamber with little to no effort.

Try a few cases at this size.

 

If they continue to drop in, then load a few cases with just a bullet. NO powder or primer.

If the cases now drop in by their own weight then your may still need to back the sizing die out.

 

You are looking for the tightest fit where the case with bullet will drop in on it's own weight.

 

You now have the cases size to the maximum they can be and work in all chambers of your revolvers.

This will provide the best seal in the chambers for all chambers.

 

The rifle is not a issue because the bolt will seat the case.

 

You may even find that one or two chambers are excessively tight compared to the other chambers.

This would require recutting the chambers to make them all the same.

 

In most cases this is not needed, the factory cut is good.

 

This also helps if you decide to shoot black powder.

 

I reloaded for cas shooters for 18 years.

 ( I averaged 400,000+ rounds a year on Dillon 650s with Lee dies)

38s where by far the most popular.

I never annealed a single case.

I did adjust sizing dies to fit customers guns.

Kept a note book so I knew where to set the dies.

-------------

another question.

When you load your rounds, can you see a waist on the case?

Is the case smaller in diameter below the bullet and then gets bigger on the bullet?

 

This is an indication the case was sized down to far for your chambers.

Raise th sizing die until you get a straight case and no waist that holds the bullet tight when crimped.

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Good stuff! Thank you, Cliff Hanger!

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Thanks for all the excellent feedback. I don't think my guns are really getting any dirtier than others' guns. I was just impressed with the clean state of my bud's rifle after annealing. After cleaning all guns meticulously after every single shoot including practice sessions, I finally slowed down some on the cleaning. You guys (including John Barleycorn's reply) have reinforced my thinking that adding a step to my reloading is probably not a good idea with the volume of shooting that Ophelia & I do. Thanks again, all!

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8 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

I always reply to questions like this the same way.

 

What is the problem with sooty brass?

 

Does it not shoot as well as shiny brass?

 

Just polish it between loadings.

 

Try shooting Black Powder sometime if you want to see sooty brass.

Brass cleaning questions/concerns on the various reloading forums never ceases to amaze me on how caught up people are with shiny brass. The purpose in tumbling brass is to remove any dirt or foreign contamination so as to not harm your brass or dies during reloading. Simple as that. I have never seen a difference in my target groupings between dull or shiny brass, and I have never heard anyone at the range or a shooting event remark as to how shiny someone's brass was.

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I think I inadvertently gave the impression that I want my brass to stay shiny. Not a concern.

 

I did wonder at the possibility that annealing might cut down on bad stuff that could make the rifle run slower or have problems that could be avoided.

 

Anyway, with the excellent feedback I've decided to not invest the additional time for annealing for what I consider a minimal return.

 

Ophelia shoots the black stuff at many of the big shoots, so even though I haven't shot it myself, I do have plenty of experience with it from a reloading & cleaning standpoint.

 

Thanks again for the comments.

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I can't really comment on .38s for annealing when shooting smokeless.  I shot 38 Spl in Uberti toggle link rifles for about 20 years.  Never annealed.  Never felt the need.  Only clean'd the rifles about every 3 - 4 matches.  This result may well depend on the powder you use.  Some smokeless are quite dirty and generate enough soot, when mix'd with the oil on the Carrier block will create sticky gummy sludge.

 

Then I switched to .45s and had lots of problems with BP and subs.  Same same my 44s.  Uberti cuts the chambers to the largest dimension possible.  If you shoot a Uberti 44Spl or 45, with BP or Subs, you get blow-by.  Most recommendations are for really big bullets and full cases.  That solution may mitigate the blow-by but not eliminate it.  Annealing 44Spl and 45 Colt cases will eliminate the blow-by.  I can run my .44Spl and 45 Colt rifles indefinitely with nothing more than a patch or two thru the bore.

 

I anneal the same as Tucker McNeely.  I do dump mine in a bucket of water 'cause I don't want to wait for 'em too cool.

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Never messed with it. Got enough reloading stuff to do. The only ones that split on me are nickel .45lc and ancient 30-40 krag and now thankfully we can get brand new 30-40. But then I don’t go to the dark side either.

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I havent attempted it on the wife's 38's yet but it was  a game changer for me on shooting bp in my 45's. I anneal about every 4th or 5th time loading. I also anneal my 12 ga brass too. it makes it so much easier to knock the roll crimp out and get the new wads in. If you're shooting smokeless powder I dont see it being worth while when you could change your charge a little or switch to a cleaner burning powder. But when it comes to black powder and a straight walled cartridge it is absolutely worth the extra time. I used to load with a wad and grease cookie to keep the fouling down which added a tremendous amount of time to loading up rounds. annealing takes about 1/4 of the time and eliminates the purpose of a fat grease cookie. You can build an annealing machine for under $100 worth of parts if you have time and patience to do it. plenty of youtube videos on it. I have all the parts but i'm still doing it on my drill. 

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1 hour ago, Turkey Flats Jack said:

I havent attempted it on the wife's 38's yet but it was  a game changer for me on shooting bp in my 45's. I anneal about every 4th or 5th time loading. I also anneal my 12 ga brass too. it makes it so much easier to knock the roll crimp out and get the new wads in. If you're shooting smokeless powder I dont see it being worth while when you could change your charge a little or switch to a cleaner burning powder. But when it comes to black powder and a straight walled cartridge it is absolutely worth the extra time. I used to load with a wad and grease cookie to keep the fouling down which added a tremendous amount of time to loading up rounds. annealing takes about 1/4 of the time and eliminates the purpose of a fat grease cookie. You can build an annealing machine for under $100 worth of parts if you have time and patience to do it. plenty of youtube videos on it. I have all the parts but i'm still doing it on my drill. 

I keep eyeballing the parts also. Maybe this winter as a my Xmas gift from the kids.  The best part of Xmas toys is putting them together so you can play with em.

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I have a Bench Source Annealer and  Anneal every time for my bench rest rifles.

I have one set of cases for a 30BR that has been fired 55 times with no lost cases.

Never have done pistol cases.  I can recommend the Bench Source.

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I had a Bench Source annealer I used for years. Finally upgraded to an AMP from New Zealand. Amazing machine. They make a pilot to anneal 45Colt brass. It does make a difference in cleanliness. As for 38 SpeciaL: Don't waste your time. I anneal center fire precision rifle brass every loading with it. The machine makes it almost fun to anneal.

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On 5/1/2020 at 10:35 AM, Max Payne said:

I think I inadvertently gave the impression that I want my brass to stay shiny. Not a concern.

 

I did wonder at the possibility that annealing might cut down on bad stuff that could make the rifle run slower or have problems that could be avoided.

 

Anyway, with the excellent feedback I've decided to not invest the additional time for annealing for what I consider a minimal return.

 

Ophelia shoots the black stuff at many of the big shoots, so even though I haven't shot it myself, I do have plenty of experience with it from a reloading & cleaning standpoint.

 

Thanks again for the comments.

There's your problem Max, you need to shoot the black stuff about every 3rd match, it'll clean your rifle and pistols for you. If you shoot full case loads the brass will anneal itself! ;)

 

Kajun

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Sorry but I believe annealing brass is a waste of time.  I’d rather be shooting or reloading.  

Ymmv

Gringo

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I anneal brass for my rifle in 45 Colt with great success, thank you Colorado Coffinmaker.  I don't for the handguns and it's a waste of time for sub .40 calibers

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I annealed about 200 38's today.

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14 hours ago, Purly SASS # 57438 said:

I annealed about 200 38's today.

Maybe that's why you always leave me in the dust!? Well, that & being faster than I am.

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I don't bother with pistol cartridges, but definitely with centerfire rifles -- ALL of the ones I own!

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I read an article about annealing in G&A several years ago that gave an el cheapo method.  Fill a baking tray or other flat pan with enough water to completely cover the base of the cartridge, leaving the rest sticking up.  Heat the mouth red hot and tip each case over with the end of the torch to quench. 
 

I’ve never tried this but it sounded reasonable to me.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/30/2020 at 6:01 PM, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Save the $$$$, and just buy new brass.

Annealing handgun brass(non bottleneck)is a pita.

I'm still loading the same .38 Special brass I have used for the last 30+ years.

Same for my .44.

OLG 

 

He's right.  There is no need (IMHO).  Just get new/replacement brass when you need to.  

 

Though bottle necked brass is another subject.  

 

Aloha, Mark

Edited by moab mark #50732

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On 5/1/2020 at 1:30 PM, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

Then I switched to .45s and had lots of problems with BP and subs.  Same same my 44s.  Uberti cuts the chambers to the largest dimension possible.  If you shoot a Uberti 44Spl or 45, with BP or Subs, you get blow-by.  Most recommendations are for really big bullets and full cases.  That solution may mitigate the blow-by but not eliminate it.  Annealing 44Spl and 45 Colt cases will eliminate the blow-by.  I can run my .44Spl and 45 Colt rifles indefinitely with nothing more than a patch or two thru the bore.

 

 

CC thanks you sold me.  I've had to clean the innards of my .45 Uberti 1873 after every match it had so much fouling.

 

On 5/1/2020 at 5:25 PM, Turkey Flats Jack said:

But when it comes to black powder and a straight walled cartridge it is absolutely worth the extra time. I used to load with a wad and grease cookie to keep the fouling down which added a tremendous amount of time to loading up rounds. annealing takes about 1/4 of the time and eliminates the purpose of a fat grease cookie. You can build an annealing machine for under $100 worth of parts if you have time and patience to do it. plenty of youtube videos on it. I have all the parts but i'm still doing it on my drill. 

 

TFJ I started working on one this week after looking at the Anneal Rite.  I didn't think that I could build one of those machines with the motor and disk.

 

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I built this one for a little over $125.00 to anneal my 45-70 and 38-55 cases. Once adjusted it works like a charm.

 

 

Take extra care not to bend the cake pan when cutting it, The first one I purchased was very soft aluminum and bent No matter how hard I tried I could never get it to work right. Scoured thrift stores for an old steel sauce pan that had square bottom.  Cut a strip about 1/4 inch wide from some thin high density plastic from the cover of a sketch book and glued it to the inside edge near the rim so that rimmed cases would roll a little straighter.

To anneal shorter pistol brass I would make a spacer for the bottom of the pan to push the cases closer to the edge and adjust the case feed ramp to match.

 

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On 5/7/2020 at 2:04 PM, Cypress Sam, SASS #10915 said:

I read an article about annealing in G&A several years ago that gave an el cheapo method.  Fill a baking tray or other flat pan with enough water to completely cover the base of the cartridge, leaving the rest sticking up.  Heat the mouth red hot and tip each case over with the end of the torch to quench. 
 

I’ve never tried this but it sounded reasonable to me.

 

That method ruined all the cases. If you can see the case glow red it is too hot. Only proper way to judge temperature is with templaq.

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